Getting integrated security down to a science at Perkin-Elmer
Getting integrated security down to a science at Perkin-Elmer

Sep 1, 1997 12:00 PM

Using existing company infrastructure, the security communications system is on-line at all times, allowing instant transmission of an alarm condition.

At Perkin-Elmer Corp., security is integrated among the company's two main buildings, approximately a mile apart, five smaller buildings and two out-of-state locations.

Located in Wilton, Conn., Perkin-Elmer is a world leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of life science systems and analytical instruments used in markets such as pharmaceutical, biotechnology, environmental testing, food, agriculture and chemical manufacturing.

Bill Decker, who serves as manager of security services from the corporate headquarters in Wilton, came to the company in 1983 after retiring at the rank of patrol sergeant from the New Milford, Conn., Police Department. He oversees all access control systems and contract and proprietary guards and is responsible for emergency response by the staff. He is also a member of the Safety Committee and keeps a hand in anything that involves the security and safety of the 1,300 employees and tenants of Perkin-Elmer buildings.

"We handle about 30 incidents a year, all of which come to a successful conclusion due to our system and the efforts of the security staff," says Decker.

The card access system is an Intrusion Detection Model 132 from Infographic Systems Corp., Los Alamitos, Calif. Fifty-nine readers and 25 Model ACU-2 panels are distributed throughout the various facilities. Through PECONET, a wide-area network, one of the panels is on-line in real time with the company's Technical Center in Oak Brook, Ill. The Technical Center provides Perkin-Elmer clients with technical support for their products. The ACU-2 panel at the center allows Decker to visually observe when someone swipes their card or enters the building at that location.

"We were one of the first to use existing company infrastructure for the purpose of security communications," says Decker. "And there is no cost involved with using PECONET, because it is already in place for Perkin-Elmer's internal communications." The system was installed by First Security Service s Corp. of Milford, Conn. According to Michael Larkin, operations manager for First Security's Electronic Security Services Division, the system is unique, because it does not communicate like traditional systems that dial a central monitoring unit when an alarm is triggered. Instead, it is on-line at all times, allowing instant transmission of an alarm condition. The possibility of a phone line going down is also nonexistent, says Larkin.

Access control cards also serve as employee identification badges. A photo of the employee is printed on the Wiegand card using a digital imaging system from Tek Data Technologies Inc., Manchester, Conn.

CCTV capabilities at Perkin-Elmer include a mixture of 26 cameras that include black-and-white Panasonic, Burle and Elmo units. Burle cameras are series 301 2/3-inch CCD chip cameras with 12x zoom lenses mounted in Pelco PT-7100 housings with pan/tilt motors, and are used in low-light areas such as remote parking lots. Many of the parking lot cameras are mounted on top of 25-foot towers. Color Panasonic BP-124 cameras, along with Elmo TSE-400 color units, are employed in vestibules and lobby locations. Panasonic CP-614 color cameras are used in general parking areas and at building entrances.

All buildings on the CCTV network are linked via Perkin-Elmer's fiber-optic system. Transmitters and receivers from Fiber Options Inc., Bohemia, N.Y., are used to convert analog video to digital.

On occasion, Decker also uses covert surveillance to acquire evidence on a theft or other type of criminal occurrence. He retrofits pin-hole and board cameras so they can be hidden in non-conspicuous locations.

All entrances to the many buildings incorporate a CCTV camera, a Locknetics emergency glass-break door release and an auto-dialer from Trigon Electronics, Orange, Calif., that communicates over Perkin-Elmer's PBX phone system to the security control room.

When an alarm condition is triggered, it appears on the Infographic work station's screen in the security control center. The officer on duty notifies the guard working near the alarm site, who immediately responds. The officer in the control room then acknowledges receiving the alarm by entering a password into the system. The guard at the site reports back to the control center on the state of the alarm condition, and the information is entered into the computer under the "comment" section of the alarm condition screen. The report becomes a permanent part of the system, allowing future call-up.

The control center also houses Panasonic black-and-white 9-inch monitors, Burle color 9-inch monitors, a 13-inch Burle main monitor, along with Sanyo VCRs, two Burle multiplexers and an American Dynamics multiplexer. "The CCTV system, along with the card access capabilities, have saved the company $300,000 a year by reducing the guard force," says Decker.

For vehicle traffic, one of the Perkin-Elmer buildings incorporates a 35-foot cantilever gate, custom made by the Atlantic Fence Co., South Windsor, Conn. "It operates on the card access system. Truckers are issued an access card with limited use as to hour and day," says Decker. "Non-cardholders use an auto-dialer to contact the control center, which, in turn, identifies the person and releases the gate. It has eliminated the need for security personnel at the gate, at another savings of $60,000 per year." A Tomsed turnstile is also employed at the location.

Trained contract guards are provided by First Security. Proprietary officers are trained by Decker, and are given 160 hours of control-room training. The proprietary staff wears civilian clothing, because Decker prefers them to blend into the surroundings. Contract people wear a blazer with First Security's logo on the breast pocket. Officers work in three shifts and carry Motorola radios.

A recent incident handled by Decker and his staff included an investigation into an alleged sale of narcotics by an employee on the job. The security operation determined thelocation of the activity, identified the person involved, and then contacted local police who set up a sting operation consisting of covert video cameras. The perpetrator was caught in the act, arrested and convicted. A number of employees that were purchasing the drugs were also caught-and put into a rehab program.

What lies in store for the future of Perkin-Elmer's security operation? "I would like to improve on the way we capture and retain video by putting in a computerized digital archiving and retrieval system, so we can handle storage of control room information more efficiently," says Decker.

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